A new study provides evidence that sexy women are seen as objects, whereas sexy men are seen as persons. College undergraduates were briefly shown images of scantily clad men and women that were either shown right-side up or upside down. Participants recognized upright images of men better than inverted images, while images of women were recognized equally well no matter how they were presented. This is consistent with a longstanding finding in cognitive psychology that we take spatial relationships in account when we view people (i.e., we have a harder time recognizing them when they’re upside down), but not objects.
To learn more about the details of this study, check out this article on The Psychology of Human Sexuality.
Bernard, P., Gervais, S. J., Allen, J., Campomizzi, S., & Klein, O. (2012). Integrating sexual objectification with object versus person recognition: The sexualized-body-inversion hypothesis. Psychological Science, 23, 469-471.
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